Jazz at Lincoln Center
With Letters to Mother Africa, visionary Cuban pianist and composer Elio Villafranca brings us another ambitious and culturally enlightening program. Leading an all-star band comprising saxophonists Billy Harper and David Murray, bassist Dezron Douglas, drummer Lewis Nash, percussionist Abdou Mboup, and South African vocalist Vuyo Sotashe, Villafranca will examine a wide range of jazz written with great reverence to Africa. Exploring jazz's deep, unifying roots in Africa, Villafranca will incorporate musical traditions and instruments from across the continent into Western jazz contexts, demonstrating common traits as well as the deep diversity of African influences. In addition to original compositions, the group will perform unique arrangements of music by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, Randy Weston, Charles Mingus, and Wayne Shorter.